3 Boulder County drive-by shooting suspects caught in Lafayette


ERIE, Colo. — Boulder County Sheriff’s deputies and police officers from three municipalities captured three suspects wanted in a series of drive-by shootings Thursday. Police said the perpetrators used two stolen vehicles to randomly shoot at cars. Both stolen vehicles were recovered.

A spokesperson for the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said the suspects, one juvenile, one adult and a third person resisted arrest. Officers used stop sticks to catch the trio in a stolen van. The spokesperson said deputies used a Taser during the arrest. This happened at about 9 p.m.

Additionally, the suspects rammed two police cars, one of them five times according to the spokesperson. No officers were hurt.

The crime spree started mid-afternoon in Longmont. Police say a group of four or five suspects in a car, stolen from Denver, started damaging property and opening fire. As police pursuits failed, the suspects drove toward Erie where the group decided to split up and steal a van too.

"I saw a mini van coming from the south really fast," said victim Leanne Leonhardt.

Leonhardt says both vehicles, a blue sedan and a blue van, sped past her and her two-year-old daughter.

"I heard a pop and a crash and then [my daughter] screamed," said Leonhardt. "I stopped and called 911 and checked on [my daughter]."
Erie police officers searched the area of the shooting near Austin Ave. and E County Line Rd. but couldn't find a bullet, according to Leonhardt.

"If [my daughter] had been rear facing ... [the bullet] could've hit her," said Leonhardt. "My daughter could've been seriously hurt or killed."

Eventually, police found the stolen car at a nearby park. By early evening, the van was spotted in Lafayette, where police say a pellet gun was thrown from a window. Officers were unable stop the van. Andy Passen of Erie tells FOX31 he's the rightful owner of the stolen van.

"It's scary because they were inside our house, basically, they were inside our garage," said Passen

Passen says he went searching for his van Thursday afternoon. He says he spotted it on I-25 going 100 mph, as he reported its location to dispatchers.

"Eventually the guy was on the curb in a construction zone and got away from me," said Passen. "I had to pull over because it was getting too dangerous."

Police were still looking for the van as of late Thursday. It was last spotted in Lafayette. It is a 2014 blue Town and Country van with a license plate number of 452-UIJ. Anyone who sees the van is encouraged to call 911.